Watch: Boris Johnson discusses August 31 deadline in Afghanistan
Boris Johnson failed to persuade Joe Biden to keep US troops in Kabul past the August 31 deadline.
It follows emergency talks at a virtual G7 summit hosted by Johnson on Tuesday afternoon.
The prime minister had hoped to convince the president to keep the remaining troops in Kabul to allow more evacuations after the Taliban took over Afghanistan earlier this month.
Biden, however, is continuing with his exit plans.
The Taliban warned Monday that there would be “consequences” if foreign soldiers did not leave the country by the August 31 deadline.
He then stepped up the pressure ahead of Tuesday’s summit, saying no further evacuations would be allowed after that date.
In a clip released, however, the Prime Minister said the UK and other G7 countries remained committed to the “safe passage” of evacuees after August 31.
He said: “The number one condition that we set as G7 is that they [the Taliban] must guarantee, until August 31 and beyond, a safe passage for those who want to go out. “
Johnson did not explain how it would work without US military support, with US soldiers providing security at Kabul airport to allow people to flee the country.
He only said that the G7 – a group that includes the United States – “has very considerable leverage: economic, diplomatic and political”.
He said the request is part of a “roadmap for how we are going to engage with the Taliban.”
Johnson was also asked if he had clearly expressed his “frustration” to Biden – who spoke at the G7 summit for about seven minutes – over the president’s refusal to extend the deadline, but he declined to respond.
He replied, “Let’s be clear, the immediate phase of the evacuation was actually a huge success on the part of the military.
Why did it all happen August 31st in the first place?
It is the continuation of the February 2020 “peace” agreement between his predecessor Donald Trump and the Taliban to end American involvement in Afghanistan.
Earlier this year, Biden followed through on Trump’s deal.
On April 14, Biden pledged: “US troops, along with the forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners, will leave Afghanistan before we mark the 20th anniversary of this heinous attack of September 11, 2001. “
“It is time to end the Eternal War,” said the president.
On July 8, with the troops already starting to depart, Biden then announced, “Our military mission in Afghanistan will end on August 31.”
Biden’s engagement, of course, was complicated by the staggering seizure of Afghanistan by the Taliban this month.
The president is seen by many to have acted unilaterally with his decision to withdraw his troops, in turn leaving allies such as the UK exposed.
On the same day as Biden’s announcement last month, Boris Johnson confirmed that “most of our staff are already gone.”
The ensuing debacle in Afghanistan significantly damaged Biden’s international reputation, with Tony Blair, who sent British troops to Afghanistan 20 years ago in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, claiming the withdrawal was “in obedience. to a foolish political slogan about ending ‘eternal wars’.
He added that Britain has a “moral obligation” to stay until “all those who need to be evacuated”.
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The situation was further complicated on Monday when a spokesperson for the Taliban warned that there would be “consequences” if foreign soldiers did not leave Afghanistan by the deadline agreed by Biden of August 31.
Suhail Shaheen said extending evacuations beyond that date would be seen as a “red line” and “would provoke a reaction”.
He told Sky News: “If the United States or the United Kingdom were looking for more time to continue with the evacuations, the answer is no. “
On Tuesday, another Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said no evacuations would be allowed after the deadline, urging Afghans to “return home and resume their calm daily life.”
Watch: Joe Biden defends withdrawal from Afghanistan (from Monday)